Keri Hilson pictured at MTV Headquarters in London earlier today (June 1st)…
Being hot and sexy is an attribute Keri Hilson makes the most of when carving out a successful solo career for herself. When she released her shockingly sexual music video for ‘The Way You Love Me’, she was accused of heavily sexing-up her image for page views and album sales. The 28-year-old did an interview with Soul Culture recently where she interestingly reveals that artists who allowed only their talent to do the talking only started selling sex later on in their careers when image became a factor. She name dropped three musical legends – Mariah Carey, Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston.
“Back then, I think there was a choice. You had people that didn’t, like Toni Braxton and Whitney Houston. You had Mariah Carey, who eventually went there, but wasn’t sexual when she first started. These days there doesn’t seem to be such a broad stroke of types of artist. You’re either folk or soul, or else you’re R&B or pop – and then it’s almost like the sex has to be a part of it” Source.
I have followed the careers of these three women right from the early 90s and will agree that neither of them flaunted their sexuality to sell records. They allowed their unmatched vocal talent to do the talking. With the music industry becoming more image based, I can understand the pressures an artist has to go through to sustain some type of ‘appeal’. At the same time I would still say it is purely a choice.
Mariah only started to slut it up during her ‘Butterfly’ era as that was her first post-divorce album where she was going through a liberated phase in her career. I saw it as a big fat F*ck You to Tommy Mottola where the then 27-year-old released music which was more Hip Hop influenced. I also believe that the selling sex is mainly applied to those who do not have the vocal prowess or stage charisma to wow audiences. Adele has youth but does not have your typical pop star image. She sells buckets because she lets her talent speak for itself.